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Harley-Davidson Installing EV Charging Stations in Dealers Prior to Sale of LiveWire

According to an industry report, EV charging stations are already being installed at several U.S. Harley dealerships in anticipation of the LiveWire going on sale this August.

We think the charging stations are a great idea — making Harley dealerships a logical, and even necessary, stop-off point during a ride aboard the LiveWire, as well as future Harley electric bikes. Will they be equipped to charge non-Harleys? We don’t know the answer to that, but we think that could be a good idea. What do you think?


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102 Comments

  1. Tank says:

    Harley would be better off installing pacemaker charging stations for the faithful.

  2. Smaug says:

    Not gonna work, and it’s not because of any logical reason. It’s because Harley Pirates like to make lots of NOISE, the better to draw attention to how cool they are.

  3. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Looking at all the pros and cons of this expensive for Harley gamble on a MINIMUM $ 30 k product, makes me again ask, what happened to conceptual common sense in industry. Kind of like Navy cruisers with one gun and ammunition too expensive to use, aircraft carriers that can not reliably launch or recover aircraft, refueling tanker aircraft that use all kinds of video game tech instead of a window, and do not work. Geeze Louise !
    A play motorcycle, battery type, for closer to $ 11 k stands a fair chance for now. Heavy infrastructure investment in not necessary for play, such as a morning jaunt from home etc. and 30 grand is brain surgery not play. Double Geeze Louise ! !

  4. Aaron says:

    The owner of the metric shop where I work also owns the local Harley shop. According to him, Harley chose to only equip the Livewire with level 1 and 3 charging capability. They are being made to install level 3 chargers at a very big expense. Level 3 chargers are also much less common and is sure to make it difficult to find somewhere to charge up the bike. Perhaps this was intentional, trying to keep buyers at the Harley shop, but it probably will turn off most buyers.

  5. Bob Loblaw says:

    Let’s see. The HD Livewire model is $30k. A new Goldwing is $30k. Which would you choose?

    And don’t overlook the false economy with electric vehicles…
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-07/skeleton-electric-car-closet

  6. rolandk says:

    I work across the street from a Harley dealer, it will be interesting to see how much activity this gets.

  7. viktor92 says:

    I wonder where HD has instaled the “vibrometer” to satisfy the spirit of the harley die hard…

    • sherm says:

      It will be sad to see the “Vibration Nation” morph into the “Charging Station Nation”. On the other hand, it could lead to a new macho/macha thing, shock contests and parties, trading off db’s for the Volt Jolt.

  8. SeTh says:

    Should have started with a Sportster frame, and then fit everything in without losing ground clearance, balance, or lean angle, even if that means a shorter charge range.

  9. Dirty Bob says:

    Sticker Shock! (pun intended)

  10. Dirty Bob says:

    Crazyjoe said:Buying everything from outside vendors and making a huge profit from those part doesn’t seem to be working out.

    Visited HD dealer last week, Parts Dept. quoted price for independent vendor parts much higher then ordering directly and I have to pick up the parts at the HD dealer. No way Jose!

  11. SharkGiutar says:

    Hopefully they will open a ‘coffee bar’ in the dealerships too so the ‘zaps’ can suck on a mocha latte while they’re waiting for their bike to charge.

  12. allworld says:

    I think it is a good idea, and yes all should be welcome.

  13. Magnus says:

    Can’t wait to charge my Zero up with genuine HD electricity at my local HD dealer. I’ll be the one in the HiVis vest eating a candy bar and drinking a coffee looking at all the cool overpriced HD gear. LOL

  14. Randall says:

    The Harley engineers are brilliant. Look at the picture of the seat. In the time you can last on the seat until the pain becomes unbearable (20 minutes) is the time at which you need to get off and charge it up. Genius!

  15. Butch says:

    I’m thinking that frame would look sweet with an air cooled Ducati mill stuffed in it.
    Gotta’ lose that shop jet heater on the bottom. It’s hideous.

  16. ABQ says:

    I could see people paying that much for a track bike. With the limited range of the livewire, that may be the only market at this time. But will there have to be another racing class for electric bikes, or will they be allowed to race with other bikes?

  17. Jim says:

    No one buying this bike is going back to the dealer. And hang out with the Faithful who will look at you like you’re riding a Buell?

  18. Tom R says:

    Hey, that’s a great business model:

    -Customer buys LiveWive, charged up at H-D dealer, rides home.
    -Next weekend customer realizes that he/she has maybe enough range to ride back to dealer to re-charge bike.
    -Customer spends a couple hours there milling about, buying T-shirts, tassels, bandanas, etc.
    -Customer rides home.
    -Next weekend, repeat process.

    H-D management probably wonders why they didn’t come up with this idea years ago!

  19. Maxjett says:

    Its like a GS not everyone gets it so maybe HD will sell 3 or 4 of these.

  20. crazyjoe says:

    My favorite subject: price. The only company I’ve seen trying to get new riders is Can Am with their Ryker. I keep asking why is everything is so expensive. Got a new idea put a premium price on it and they will buy it. There’s people with a ten thousand dollar bicycle hanging in their living room maybe they will buy this. Go figure a company like Honda that builds more engines in a year than everyone else can’t come up with common parts and components. Have a 300 single, a 600 twin, a 900 triple what about a 1200 four and why not a 1800 six. Unique parts jack up the price. Buying everything from outside vendors and making a huge profit from those part doesn’t seem to be working out.

  21. Fujkami says:

    Man that is one ugly motorcycle. Leave it to Harley not to finish a project and to hire a design team that should have kept their day job. 29 thousand dollars for THAT?! Holy Swingarm BATMAN!- Charging stations are good though. Now if they can just get rid of the typical lost in the 70s uneducated sales people.

  22. cagefree says:

    I wonder if Buell’s new Fuell e-bike will be welcomed at HD charging stations? Ha ha.

  23. Tom R says:

    This is all very interesting, but what I really want to know is how are they going to make the LiveWire obnoxiously loud?

    • Jeremy says:

      The whole point of that pretty silver thingy under the bike is to create gear whine. You know they had to have a good reason to take up all that space that could have otherwise been used to for trivial things like increased battery capacity.

      • paul says:

        Nothing bothers me more than gear whine, on any machine, but especially on a motorcycle. Its like fingers across the blackboard.

        • Jeremy says:

          I’m not a fan of noise for the sake of noisiness in general, but a high pitched gear whine is definitely really low on my list of tolerable sounds. The designers said they wanted the sound to be reminiscent of a fighter get. Whatever.

          I haven’t actually heard the thing in motion, so I won’t pass judgement on the quality of its mechanical symphony just yet. Maybe they truly did engineer the thing to sound pleasing without the noise being intrusive or too shrill. But whatever the result, I still have to frown upon all that battery capacity space taken up by what is essentially a noise maker.

  24. Jeremy says:

    Good move by HD. Their dealerships are typically located near interstates or major roadways these days, so it makes the charging stations pretty accessible – an important thing for LiveWire owners since the bike can probably only go 40 or 50 miles down that interstate before being completely tapped out.

    HD dealerships are typically nice places, and the potential to get electric car buyers in the door and looking at bikes, LiveWires or otherwise, can’t hurt. They need to get Tesla compatible chargers though so that the more well-heeled can stop by, too. They are likely to be more inclined to pay Harley prices than the typical Volt or Leaf owner, whose car cost about as much as the LiveWire.

    Of course the best part is that the’ll expect the dealers to make this $100K investment per shop. Not sure how good of a return that would be. Gotta sell a lot of bikes to recoup that. Or apparel.

  25. ben says:

    I will never buy an electric vehicle, have less than zero interest

  26. takehikes says:

    I know someone in the industry that has test ridden the LiveWire a couple times. Says its a very good bike. But he like me and most everyone thinks its over priced by a factor of…..double or more. In other words not even close. As he said while the technology is great the reality is there are very few parts. Might be expensive parts but not many. Rest of the bike is , well, a bike. So where is all the cost coming from?
    Great idea about the charging station but they are massively delusional if they think the dealer will be watching LiveWires charging in his service area.

  27. Tommy D says:

    I have a small family owned dealer near me. He was one of those dealers that didn’t charge thousands over list to purchase a bike during the shortage years. He is an enthusiast and not like the other dealer not far from me that grew into a massive dealership with high pressure sales and $3-5K over list pricing. I bring this up because H-D is forcing the dealers to install this station and making them pay for it. This smaller dealer doesn’t have service in the street to handle this nor the space to place the charger. Between the cost of the station, pad, power company costs to provide service the estimate for the installation is $80,000.00 dollars. How many bikes do you need to sell to make 80 grand back in profit? I think this is a mistake to force all dealers to do this. I think the H-D bubble is about to completely burst and this added cost will be the nail in the coffin for a lot of dealers.

  28. arrowrod says:

    I can see the beauty of a pedal assist bicycle, no taxes, charge at home, 25mph around town. Park next to door. And, if you have battery, you can change it in seconds. Don’t wash it, so it won’t get stolen. This thing is a $25K answer to a $1000 question.

  29. Matt says:

    Swing on by, charge your bike, and while you’re at it buy some of our overpriced apparel.

  30. Bud says:

    I expect someone will do decent bussiness selling aftermarket seats for that bike…

  31. Anonymous says:

    Buells sucked, ergo few people actually bought them. They were overpriced for what they offered. If they were such great bikes, why did they go belly up so many times? Erik Buell is a genius at one thing and that’s convincing people with money to fund his BS.

    But as before, Erik Buell and his company will soon be parted, i.e., OOB: Out Of Bidness.

    And the LiveWire? I doubt it will sell because it is, like a Buell, grossly overpriced for what you get.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Test rode several Buells, Very interesting, however I could not get past the lack of QA in the final product. Side stands, exhaust studs, etc. etc. etc. Surprisingly unstable at low speed 90 degree turns ( completely stable at speed ), just not a finished product. The limited rpm range of the HD engine was also uncomfortable.

    • gpokluda says:

      Oh, now now. They weren’t that bad. No worse than KTM during the bits-o-bike years in the 90’s. The ST2 was quite capable and pretty comfortable for longer hauls. Sure you had to Loctite every fastener, but I’ve had bolts vibrate loose on Hondas and BMWs too.

  32. Tom K. says:

    To be honest, this is a good idea, and will no doubt be picked up by the Big Automakers soon. Having a well-lit area where a driver on a long-distance trip can catch a catnap or walk across the road for lunch while their vehicle is charging (with the AC or heat running) is a no-brainer, I honestly never gave it that much thought – but it makes sense. Wouldn’t you think there is a Ford dealer within 75 miles or so of one another everywhere east of the Missouri? Makes one wonder when Congress will step in and mandate universal charging plug configurations. Doubtful it will tip anyone into buying a Livewire that wasn’t already inclined, but gotta give credit where it’s due.

  33. gpokluda says:

    A good friend of mine is the parts and service director for the auto group that sells Audi, Porsche and Mercedez in my home town. All three dealerships are prepping their service departments with rapid charging stations. Check out how Porsche is prepping for their Taycan: 250 miles on a 15 minute charge. Glad to see Harley looking ahead to the growing EV market.

    • sbashir says:

      The new Harley dealership in my area is a block from Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes and Land Rover dealerships. I guess they will all have charging stations. The HD charging station will be open to both cars and bikes.

  34. rider33 says:

    judging by the number of upscale car owners milling about at the Tesla stations waiting for their cars to charge I would say this is a hell of a good idea. If they are smart, they will be sure that it’s capable charging ANY electric bike, moto or pedal assist. It’s not about how many Livewires they sell, it’s about building traffic across a broader group of riders.

  35. Tank says:

    Rolling Lightning!

  36. Dino says:

    “So THATs what the cart looks like” (said the horse)

    In a perfect world, this would be a great way to promote the product, and universal charging would expand the brand… But this isn’t a perfect world (See Buell) and I don’t think anything but a genuine HD gas burning twin will be welcome or recognized at most dealerships. Maybe it is different on the West Coast?

  37. Tom R says:

    Like Buell and V-Rod owners before, LiveWire riders will be dissed/mocked by most of the crowd at H-D dealers.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Dissed”. How “In the Ghettooooooo”… of you. I would tell you not to be ridiculous but too late.

      Buell motorcycles were not worth the asking price. It’s not that they weren’t “good” but rather that they weren’t good enough. If the people still whining about the rightful demise of Erik and Company had bought his crap instead of just praising it, maybe he would still be in business.

      Victory motorcycles were far better and they failed for pretty much the same reason except they didn’t have Erik but instead had the Salvador Dali of the Custom Crowd, Arlen Ness.

      The LiveWire will probably fail for the exact same reason. It is too expensive for what it truly is. So get over the deification of Erik Buell. Quit blaming Harley-Davidson and HD owner’s (you know, the people that actually buy bikes) for Buell’s demise. Actually he and his product have been out of business multiple times.

      HD folk used to bitch and moan about AMF but without AMF, Harley would’ve gone under. Without Harley, Buell would have gone under sooner. Nobody wants to actually buy his stuff. Oh, they will say they do but then they don’t.

      It’s not just a matter of putting your money where your mouth is but first getting your foot out of there. Get it? Got it?

      I doubt it. Later.

      • Dave says:

        Harleys are overpriced for what they are, too. If Buell’s sales hadn’t been chained to HD’s dealer network, they would’ve had a chance. They were innovative, interesting bikes that were stuck in a dealer network that wasn’t interested in them, or talking to the kind of people who could’ve been.

        • Jeremy says:

          I remember going to check out the XB9S when it came out. The salesman’s exact words was that was it was just “another girls’ bike tarted up to offer a trendier looking Sportster. That’s why we we cram them over there by the women’s clothing. If you are really looking for something sporty and powerful, what you really want to look at is a Dyna.” Ha! I’ll never forget that. And he was completely serious.

          But then, I’ve also been in lots of dealerships that ranged from neutral to very enthusiastic about the Buells. It was hit or miss. Mostly miss if the internet vibe on the subject is to be believed. But Buells had all sorts of problems as a product offering. The dealerships, while surely a contributing factor, were not the cause of failure IMO.

          • Grover says:

            A lot of thin skinned riders around here. If you wanted a Buell you would’ve done your research, bought one and rode it home. Who cares what a salesman on any lot cares or thinks or where the bike was situated on the floor? You certainly don’t need to go back to the dealership afterward to service the thing as it was a dead simple Sportster engine with a single carb and hydraulic valves. Nobody I knew ever went back to the service dept. unless it was a warranty issue (let them fix their screwup!)
            Buell was asking the Sportser engine to do a lot more than it was originally designed. THAT was the biggest problem with the Buell line, trying to make a 21st century performance bike from 1950’s technology.

          • Jeremy says:

            “A lot of thin skinned riders around here. If you wanted a Buell you would’ve done your research, bought one and rode it home.”

            That is what I eventually did. I never went into a dealership uninformed. I try in advance to know all there is to know about anything I might potentially buy.

            But there are plenty of people that do not have the knowledge/tools/space/time/desire to work on a bike. For them the quality of the dealership is part of the purchase.

            And even though I have the kit to diagnose and fix most likely anything on a motorcycle, I still like to give the bike purchase to a dealership that deserves it.

        • Anonymous says:

          And for years, Harleys sold at ridiculous prices. Buells did not. Victorys did not. It was not the dealerships, it’s the bikes and their perceived value in the real world.

          In the real worlds sales matter, not wannabuyers.

          Now I see why people still call it the “Buell*Aid”. The bikes were not worth the asking price. If they were, they would’ve sold a lot better. People know this but they refuse to admit it. People are ridiculous.

  38. todd says:

    Why do there always need to be incentives? If they can’t sell the bike – especially because there’s no government rebate – what’s the point if offering it in the first place? Imagine if dealerships starting installing free gas pumps…

  39. goodlyRun says:

    So now HD can finally use the ‘trailering distance’ of shops as a plus!

    ‘I don’t own a Harley because I don’t like driving with a trailer.’

    • motowarrior says:

      Wait a second, you may be on to something here. What if Harley manufactured and sold trailers that incorporated a gasoline powered charging station. You could trailer your Livewire all over the country behind your 10-mpg Harley-Davidson pickup, once in a while unloading it to ride a couple of blocks to the nearest bar. It would always be charged up, and so would you!

      • goodlyRun says:

        motowarrior gets it. 🙂
        Imagine a future where there are charging stations in range of biker (HD) bars.
        The dealerships could have hostels on the top floors. You would never need to leave a (very) specific area!

  40. Ricardo says:

    At a price of $30 for the Livewire, I think the charging stations will be almost empty, so yes make them standard to charge other bikes.

  41. mickey says:

    “According to an industry report, EV charging stations are already being installed at several U.S. Harley dealerships in anticipation of the LiveWire going on sale this August.”

    What exactly does several mean?

    • Stickman says:

      “several” means a few in the bay area and a few in L.A.

    • sbashir says:

      Dealerships that are willing to invest $100,000 in a charging station, technician training, test equipment and parts. Dealerships that look good enough to be a luxury car dealership. Dealerships that are located where luxury car owners shop.
      Dropping $30K on a premium electric bike is no big deal for them. Select dealerships in all major metropolitan areas.

  42. Hot Dog says:

    You will be invisible, if you stop in to one of the Harley Temples, on anything other than their brand. A buddy and me spent 45 minutes in one and nobody would engage in banter, much less even look at us. Maybe it was my Hi-Viz? It would be good to see all bikes use a universal plug so any dealership could help with juice.

    • Dave says:

      This is why Buell failed.

    • sbashir says:

      They are just not that interested in other bikes. I wouldn’t be caught dead in hi-viz. The LiveWire uses Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 DC charging. The CCS (Combined Charging System) plug works with all bikes and cars except Teslas.

      • Hot Dog says:

        No Sir, you wouldn’t be caught dead in Hi-Viz cuz people can actually see you. Visually loud does help, whereas dull dark colors blend into being damned near invisible.

        • Lewis says:

          LOL, I don’t care what color you have on when drivers are staring at their smartphones. I ride under the assumption that I am always invisible. I have a friend who swears by Hi Viz, but the deer that totaled his CB1000R must have been colorblind.

      • mickey says:

        I was in the Highway Traffic Safety Business for the last 25 years before I retired (was in the motorcycle business for 19 years before that). I can tell you without question that Hi Viz works at making you more visible. In fact it is federally mandated for highway workers and police directing traffic because of that fact.

        Riders wearing Hi-Viz are visible from a long distance away, I’m sure you have seen that for yourself.

        Truth is some people just don’t care about their safety. They care more about their image. You see them everyday riding in all black clothes and no helmets. That is their right,of course, but it’s hard to bitch at someone for pulling out in front you of or turning in front of you when you intentionally are wearing clothing that makes you nearly invisible to them.

        Don’t let proven facts get in the way of your personal safety though.

  43. dgwriter says:

    Harley charged my Zero Electric for free and I’ve got this tee shirt to prove it!

  44. Anonymous says:

    “To maintain your warranty and have your motorcycle operate at peak efficiency, recharge your LiveWire ONLY with genuine Harley Davidson electricity. Available at your dealer.”

  45. motowarrior says:

    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. First they should build a competitive ebike at a reasonable price.

  46. patdep says:

    add a small coffee hangout

  47. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    A smart move. Very Smart if other E-Bikes could plug in, especially with the move of many HD dealerships to freeway visible locations. Don’t know how HD peeps will respond to other brands tapping into HD E-juice, but candy bar and soda sales would increase.

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